A while back I pulled the Peacock card--
The Peacock symbolizes transmutation. He lives in the woods where he consumes, among other things, poisonous plants which he has the ability to transmute into this amazing iridescent plumage. He is an alchemist of the highest order. *
The Peacock invites us to take information and circumstances, both negative and positive, and alchemize them into a harmonized energetic field that blesses our lives. And he teaches that to do this requires us to accept our pain with as much love and gratitude as we do our happiness. When we do this, we begin to experience everything in life as happening for us rather than to us. *
This gift of the pain of the transformation is one that I have always been able to understand. I believe this is because of my unwavering belief that the Universe, she has my back, and so if the ride is chaotic and deeply painful, it’s because she knows that is exactly what I need to move me along. And boy, she moves me fast. Probably because she knows I have the attention span of a squirrel so she’s got to get me going.
Notwithstanding—the language of the lawyer in me–this unwavering trust in the Universe, none of this is easy. At all. It’s pretty awful. Like terribly awful. Unbearable. Heart piercing painful. And I have to remind myself many times when the transformation ride starts up, that this is a gift, this is a gift, this is a gift, don’t close your eyes to this ride.
And, when I am able, I take this full-hearted breath and thank the Universe for the lessons. Because I have grown in this current growth spurt. And am pretty close to being mostly good most of the time, which is really good.
And I was thinking the other day, ‘ok, what is the next piece of wisdom that the Universe is weaving for me’, as I am curious what this next step in my transformation will look like.
And then, recently, I pulled the Tarantula card--
The Tarantula represents a moment when a great decision must be made. It involves prioritizing your life’s deeper purpose, or dharma. A habit or routine from the past is sidetracking you from your dream, yet a voice inside is begging you to refocus your attention. In order to find true happiness, you must choose dharma. Until you do, satisfaction will be fleeting. The Tarantula hovers, patient and calm, like an old friend that knows your inner soul. It already knows you’ll choose wisely. *
And I thought, ‘oh, here you are.’
And so here I am.
I noticed this the other day. This sense that there is this last piece of this puzzle. Or rather, that the puzzle is complete but I’m still searching for another piece when really, I just have to leave the game. I think I need a better metaphor.
Here’s where I’m at/what I’m just realizing.
For a while, like a long while, like for a most of my life while, my understanding is that you do the work, you have the ah ha moments where you see with clarity, you heal the trigger wounds and, we’re all good, right? But here’s the thing, we have to still break the habits. They don’t break on their own.
What?? They don’t break on their own?!?! Like oh my friggin’ God, they don’t just go away on their own.
I thought they did. Truly. Like I thought that once those things hidden in the shadows had that bright light shined onto them, well, we’d be good. Heal the wounds, love the younger me’s, accept the old now me, and the patterns that feed those other me’s... well I won’t need them anymore and they’ll just gracefully fall away.
This is so not happening.
The patterns, the habits, the comfort moves and motions, I still want to do these. I still do do these.
There is a difference though, and this is a big one—and, I know, the first step in the undoing of them—I know I’m doing these things and they don’t feel good.
And I am not ready to let them go quite yet.
Amazing Peacock photograph by Robin Catherine Lawson, taken during the Thomas Fire, December 2017, Ojai California.
* Card Deck for the Peacock card— The Untamed Elemental by Tasya van Ree
* Card Deck for the Tarantula card—The Animal Spirit Deck by Wild Unknown
I need to talk about my dog.
First of all, he got his face trimmed and I mean, look at that face!
Moose is at summer camp. Up in Oregon. A Board and Train camp. With this beautiful family/brilliant dog training couple that I met when Nava was just a puppy and they were a couple and now they are a family.
I found them because, before Nava, I trained all our dogs. Well really, I trained Ruckus, our first dog—with some help from this crazy ass woman who held the dried liver dog treats in her mouth so she could leave her hands free and when Ruckus did what she instructed him to do she would drop a treat out of her mouth and into his. It was quite impressive and somewhat disturbing—and Ruckus trained all of our other dogs. Ruckus, of the hairy stinky Poodle mouth and the eating of the diapers and socks, was brilliant because he was a Poodle and Poodles are brilliant, and once he knew the Rose routine, every dog after followed along.
Gabby learned from Ruckus and when Ruckus died and we bought Mac—because Gabby was a Weimaraner and she needed to not be an only dog so we got her a puppy—and Mac learned from Gabby. And when Mac became a dad—because Mac-a-daddy-did—his daughter, Tank learned from both of them. Then we were dog free for a free minute and then we got Nava.
Yes, this is about Moose.
So Nava. I found her because I was looking for a Doberman breeder that bred for health and wellness because of this fucked up Doberman disease called DCM that is causing Dobermans to drop dead and I wanted to find a breeder that had clean lines so my dog wouldn’t die like Mac did.
So I got Nava. Who died like Mac did.
The breeder’s website said, health and wellness—she had clean lines for 40 years! but this disease sometimes also just shows up—and a family dog/pet. A family dog/pet… She was so not a family dog/pet. My soul dog was the most high drive dog I ever had. She should have been a police dog. Or a search and rescue dog. She should have been a Marine. She wanted to work. All. The. Time.
And she was smart. Too smart for us. My I-love-you-lets-cuddle-this-is-how-we-train rhythm so did not work for her. So I found Karin and sent her to camp. In LA. And she came back ready to rock and roll. And then Karin trained me.
When I got Moose, at first I did not think I needed a Board and Train. Because Moose is not a high drive Marine style Doberman, he is a god you are so brilliant and easy to train Poodle. But alas… I wanted a crate trained dog this time.
I have never had a crate trained dog. Me of the ‘family bed’ and the ‘you hold your children all the time,’ and the child led parenting and my dogs are my kids and when I put any of them in the crate they cried and so did I and then I took them out, that me, well that me cannot crate train a dog.
I tried with Ruckus. It lasted a quick minute. I bought a crate for Nava. Gifted that away.
And here is Moose. I bought him a crate, too. And watched the videos and got the treats. And put him in and he cried. And I cried. And I took him out and held him in my lap.
But you see, I want to leave my house. And he is a puppy. And I want to leave my house. I am saying this twice.
So summer camp in Oregon. Because I want a crate trained dog.
Before we were planning to get Moose—because we weren’t planning to get Moose because I was not going to get another dog after Nava died—Nava died :-(—because my heart was broken but then we got Moose. But before were planning to get Moose—who I didn’t know we were going to get until I saw him online and knew he was my dog—before we were planning to get Moose, we were planning some trips. I was planning a trip back east to see my kids and grandkids and we were planning this upcoming family trip to Marin County, to Dillon Beach, to this awesome house on the ocean so that my three kids and their partners and the grandkids can all come together for this once a year coming together.
So my Moose, he would have had to board anyway and so why not send him to summer camp in Oregon where he can crate train because I am a crate trainer cop out drop out and I need a ton of help on this. Like 100% help. Like someone else has to crate train my dog. And while he is there, he gets to do other fun stuff, too. Like leash train and long down stay train and recall train. And he will come back home when we are done with our trips that were planned before we planned for Moose. He will come back home as his best, most confident and brilliant self.
So that’s where Moose is.
He’s at summer camp in Oregon.
Visit my Facebook page to see the full crate success video!
Thank you to Blackwood Canine, The Driven Dog, Karin Chan Wright and David Wright! You are the best!
I had a session with an amazing practitioner/sage/channeler of the Devine Guidance.
And I was sharing that this is bullshit. This human stuff. And that I am so done with this. Even with all the process and growth and understanding and appreciation for where I’m at now, when it comes right down to it, this game of life, it’s a bullshit game and I don’t want to play it again. And I better learn all my last lessons that my soul needs to learn in this Earth experience this time around because I am so not coming back to this again. To Earth. To this School of Survival.
My sage/wisdom weaver friend, she responded that Earth is not a sophisticated planet. And we are a really young species. It is a ‘survival of the fittest’ place. An ‘animals eat other animals’ place.
And I’m thinking, us humans, we eat each other, too, albeit in a quite different way (most of the time). And for my soul, my spirit, my psyche—this Earth place dynamic, it’s killing me. I am going to find a kinder planet for my next incarnate journey. I am done with this shit.
For a while, it was an ‘I’m done with this shit right now.’ Kind of a malaise but more. The ‘this is bullshit’ feeling and the ‘I have to get off this ride’ feeling and the “having to play this bullshit game for another 30 years is impossible for me” feeling.
For a while that was how I was feeling.
But a lightness now seeps in at the corners of my eye. My mind’s eye. A lightness and a sense of possibility that there is still much greatness here. Still much beauty and joy and deep love to experience here.
And these moments, they come often now. For a while they seldom showed up. For a while they didn’t show up at all, then they started to seldom show up. And now, these moments show up more often.
And they string together, too now. These little bits of moments that make me smile and laugh become longer moments in each day.
It is a place of deep joy for me when I reach the end of some of my days and think to myself that this was a really beautiful day. Sometimes the joy is so big that it’s almost painful. And this, this is joyous, too.
This life experience/survival of the fittest/Earth School of Survival game, I believe I won this round of this game. I made it to the top of the mountain/out of the tunnel of despair/up from the “how am I ever going to get out of this” hole I thought I was in for the rest of this lifetime.
And while I still have moments that fold into the grief in me, they are the fleeting moments now, and the light in me is the bigger part.
It’s a beautiful place to be.
My photo today is of the things that I love right now. Some that make me laugh. And some that give me pause and resonate as truth to me here in this moment. Which is all I really have, really.
I started writing this piece on my way home from this amazing embodiment class that my daughter Teagan offers each Monday night in Santa Barbara. This embodiment class is about landing in the body. I take this class as often as I can. And on this night I landed pretty squarely into myself. I voiced this on my way home, dictating to Siri the appreciation that is unfolding for me for this vessel that houses my soul in a very different way than I have had for most of my life.
For most of my life I have had a love-hate relationship with my body. A secret hidden hate coupled with this mostly love for my body. There was always this conflicting juxtaposition because, though I found great fault in this body of mine—on a quite regular basis—I was/am quite proud of it.
I had/have a beautiful body. And didn’t realize that the hate of it was quite deep and quite strong because the love of it was quite deep and quite strong, too.
My body served me quite well. More than well. My body outdid herself. I performed in it, on the stage and in film and Tv. Print ads and photographs for artists seeking nudes. I modeled for drawing classes and walked the world in clothing that adorned my shape in ways that implied that I felt good. And I did. In that projecting-outwardly-and-receiving-outward-validation-in-return way, I felt really good. Like really, really good.
And this beautiful body of mine, it has been incredible for the things I wanted—and still want—it to do.
My body, it has been pushed to the limit in dance and in swimming running cycling and rowing and in movement and pole and in climbing and hiking and stretching extending bending and flexing. Anything my mind wanted to do, my body did it. Really well.
And I have not nurtured or cared for this body the way it deserved for most of my life.
I starved it. My body. I starved it. For years. And binged and purged it. My body. I binged and purged it. For years. I picked at it, my creative rendition of cutting. Mostly at my feet which is its own irony since, as a dancer, my feet are my trade’s foundation and yet, there I was, desecrating the mechanism for my movement. As a dancer you would think I would have loved on my feet more. But no.
I starved it. And binged and purged it. And picked at it till I hurt it.
And I broke it into pieces. My body was just pieces rather than being the whole.
I broke it apart into pieces at first in the mirror in the dance studio. Just my arm, or the line of my leg. But soon the pieces were just me anytime I looked in the mirror.
There I was. A piece at a time. And, of course, only the pieces that I didn’t like that day. My thighs because they didn’t allow my pants to fit just right. Lately it’s my neck because it looks old. And always my waist because…well just because I don’t like my waist.
That was the theme when I would find my pieces in the mirrored reflection—an “I just don’t like you” theme. And then I told this reflection of this piece of me in the mirror, “I don’t like you.” I said this to myself, to the mirror, to those parts of me that were the only parts I could see. “I don’t like you.” What a terrible way to start each day with this partner in body with me.
So, you see, I had a serious love-hate relationship with my body. And a deep distrust of whether it’s a safe place to land. This deep distrust, I believe it came before the hate part. Before I knew the hate part, I think deep in my bones, in that somatic way of wisdom, I knew it wasn’t a safe place to be. And so being grounded in it has always been a challenge for me and I mostly lived above my body for a lot of the time.
I work with some amazing practitioners and one of the themes is self-love. Another is internal safety. And I am focusing in on learning to ground into this space that is my body that is this container for me. And I am spending more and more time in this body of mine.
This is new for me. And, at first was very uncomfortable. But more and more, when I do land squarely into me, this feels really good. It feels so very good to be landing here, in this body, in this way.
I started this work over the winter. When things that were deep inside me started to come up and the opportunity for self-exploration felt doable and possible and practical and necessary and terrifying and did I say necessary? Because it was/is. And the goal was/is deep self-love and internal safety. With a focus on this now aging body and to not judge this book by its cover but to celebrate this amazing body that I have because of all the things it can do, rather than all the ways it can look.
And then as Spring sprung I fell into a deeper hole than the hole I was already in that I thought was deep already, and my body became this dangerous place. My body became the enemy.
I couldn’t look at it. I dressed in the dark of my closet space. I closed my eyes coming in and out of the shower. When I caught a glimpse of me, I cried.
There is the saying, it is always darkest before the dawn. I googled it. It’s not really true. It’s just a metaphor. But it’s a good metaphor. And it seems to be true for me in the metaphor way. What follows my darkest moments are always the brightest lights of clarity. When I am deepest in it, I know that the clearest wisdom is on its way.
The deeper I go into the hole, the higher I climb out of it.
And that’s the goal. I feel it. My soul feels it. For its own growth and for this loving acceptance of this body. To gain this deep, deep reverence and love for this body of mine—this amazing and capable and strong body of mine—I had to go all the way down to the bottom.
I had to hate this body fully before I could love this body greatly.
It’s like the balance tree. The idea of the balance tree is that the branches can only grow as high as the roots are deep. The one can’t be without the other. This feels like that. And my dark and light metaphor is the backdrop for my beautiful balance tree. My beautiful body tree really.
Mother, Wife, Friend, Sister, Daughter, Dancer, Rower, Runner, Dog and Cat lover.